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BackStory with the American History Guys

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BackStory is a weekly one-hour public radio show that provides a national broadcast audience with an enjoyable and accessible way of engaging challenging themes in American history and how they connect with today. The show is hosted by renowned historians Peter Onuf, Ed Ayers, and Brian Balogh. BackStory’s signature sound and spirit of inquiry emanates from the hearts and minds of its genial hosts, whose unscripted brilliance reflects a warmth and rapport that comes from their longtime friendship.

Please confirm carriage of BackStory with the American History Guys by contacting Melissa LaCasse at 207.776.4926 or lacassemelissa@gmail.com.

Moving from current headlines to drill down into U.S. history, each surprising BackStory episode features lively interviews with a diverse roster of scholars, experts, and ordinary citizens from around the country; listener calls; host discussions; and produced pieces. Topics are as diverse as college sports, reenactments, sugar, memorials, domestic terrorism, birthing, homeownership, the post office, philanthropy, protests, privacy, marriage, revivalism, and childhood—all in the context of American history.

Since BackStory first began as a monthly show in 2008, episodes have been broadcast by more than 130 primary stations in 39 states, 29 in the top 50 markets by population. Podcasts have been downloaded 1.4 million times.

BackStory is produced by VFH Radio at the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities. Major funding is provided by the National Endowment for the Humanities with additional corporate, foundation, institutional, and individual support.

Please visit our station landing page for upcoming episodes, promotional photos, and other information.

 


Pieces

Caption: Toward Los Angeles, Calif., by Dorothea Lange, 1937., Credit: Library of Congress
On the first of February, more than 100 million Americans will tune in to watch the two best teams in the NFL vie for the national championship … a...

  • Added: Jan 28, 2015
  • Length: :00
Caption: Toward Los Angeles, Calif., by Dorothea Lange, 1937., Credit: Library of Congress
30-second promo for "New & Improved: Advertising in America," with 5-second bed at end for station-specific time/date tag.

  • Added: Jan 28, 2015
  • Length: :30
Caption: Abraham Lincoln at Gettysburg, November 19th, 1863., Credit: Library of Congress
Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address is, of course, one of the most iconic speeches in American history. But in 1863, it got decidedly mixed review...

Bought by KSVR Studios: Skagit Valley Radio, WRGY, KREV-LP, WYAP, KBRP Community Radio and more


  • Added: Jan 23, 2015
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 6
Caption: Abraham Lincoln at Gettysburg, November 19th, 1863., Credit: Library of Congress
30-second promo for "Talk of the Nation:Oratory in America" with 5-second music bed at end for station-specific time/date tag. Full episode posted ...

  • Added: Jan 23, 2015
  • Length: 54:00
Caption: Abraham Lincoln at Gettysburg, November 19th, 1863., Credit: Library of Congress
30-second promo for "Talk of the Nation; Oratory in America" with 5-second music bed at end for station-specific time/date tag.

Bought by 90.1 WFYI Public Radio


  • Added: Jan 21, 2015
  • Length: :30
  • Purchases: 1
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On January 1, 1863, President Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation. In it, he announced that all slaves in the rebellious states “shall be ...

  • Added: Jan 16, 2015
  • Length: 54:00
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On January 1, 1863, President Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation. In it, he announced that all slaves in the rebellious states “shall be ...

Bought by KREV-LP, KSVR Studios: Skagit Valley Radio, WRIR, WRGY, WJFF and more


  • Added: Jan 16, 2015
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 8
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30-second promo for "Henceforth Free: The Emancipation Proclamation " with 5-second music bed at end for station-specific time/date tag.

Bought by 90.1 WFYI Public Radio


  • Added: Jan 14, 2015
  • Length: :30
  • Purchases: 1
Caption: Oil gusher in Port Arthur, Texas, c1901, Credit: Library of Congress
At the beginning of the 20th century, oil was hardly on America's energy map. Coal was king, supplying as much as 90% of the nation's energy needs....

Bought by KSVR Studios: Skagit Valley Radio, WRIR, WRGY, KPCC, and KBRP Community Radio


  • Added: Jan 09, 2015
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 5
Caption: Oil gusher in Port Arthur, Texas, c1901, Credit: Library of Congress
At the beginning of the 20th century, oil was hardly on America's energy map. Coal was king, supplying as much as 90% of the nation's energy needs....

  • Added: Jan 09, 2015
  • Length: 54:00
Caption: Oil gusher in Port Arthur, Texas, c1901, Credit: Library of Congress
30-second promo for "Black Gold: An American History of Oil," with 5-second music bed at end for station-specific time/date tag.

Bought by 90.1 WFYI Public Radio


  • Added: Jan 06, 2015
  • Length: :30
  • Purchases: 1
Caption: Elektro the Moto-Man and his Little Dog Sparko, created by Westinghouse Electric Company for the 1939 World’s Fair., Credit: New York City Public Library
Matt Novak of the blog "Paleofuture" talks about "The Jetsons," the show that helped define American ideas of future technology without thinking mu...

Bought by WABE and PRX Remix


  • Added: Jan 05, 2015
  • Length: 07:47
  • Purchases: 2
Caption: Elektro the Moto-Man and his Little Dog Sparko, created by Westinghouse Electric Company for the 1939 World’s Fair., Credit: New York City Public Library
Maria Lane, author of Geographies of Mars, relates what Percival Lowell observed on the red planet. This segment comes from BackStory's episode "Th...

Bought by PRX Remix


  • Added: Jan 05, 2015
  • Length: 09:02
  • Purchases: 1
Caption: Elektro the Moto-Man and his Little Dog Sparko, created by Westinghouse Electric Company for the 1939 World’s Fair., Credit: New York City Public Library
Bradley Boyd and reporter Ashley Creek head to the top of an old hotel in Birmingham, Alabama, which made provisions for a future that never came. ...

Bought by WABE and PRX Remix


  • Added: Jan 05, 2015
  • Length: 05:11
  • Purchases: 2
Caption: Elektro the Moto-Man and his Little Dog Sparko, created by Westinghouse Electric Company for the 1939 World’s Fair., Credit: New York City Public Library
Historian Max Page talks about why New York City is so often the target of destruction on the page and the silver screen. This segment comes from t...

Bought by PRX Remix


  • Added: Jan 05, 2015
  • Length: 09:10
  • Purchases: 1
Caption: Elektro the Moto-Man and his Little Dog Sparko, created by Westinghouse Electric Company for the 1939 World’s Fair., Credit: New Your City Public Library
Across history, Americans have dreamed of what the future will hold, from the flying cars and 3-hour workdays of The Jetsons to fears of World War ...

Bought by WEZU, WJFF, KPCC, WCAI / WNAN, KSVR Studios: Skagit Valley Radio and more


  • Added: Jan 02, 2015
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 11
Caption: Elektro the Moto-Man and his Little Dog Sparko, created by Westinghouse Electric Company for the 1939 World’s Fair., Credit: New Your City Public Library
Across history, Americans have dreamed of what the future will hold, from the flying cars and 3-hour workdays of The Jetsons to fears of World War ...

  • Added: Jan 02, 2015
  • Length: 54:00
Caption: Elektro the Moto-Man and his Little Dog Sparko, created by Westinghouse Electric Company for the 1939 World’s Fair., Credit:  New York City Public Library
30-second promo for "The Future Then: Visions of America Yet to Come," with 5-second music bed at end for station-specific time/date tag.

Bought by 90.1 WFYI Public Radio


  • Added: Dec 30, 2014
  • Length: :30
  • Purchases: 1
Piece image
Christmas may be the Big Kahuna of American holy days… but it wasn’t always so. For centuries it was a time of drunken rowdiness, when the poor wou...

  • Added: Dec 23, 2014
  • Length: 54:00
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Christmas may be the Big Kahuna of American holy days… but it wasn’t always so. For centuries it was a time of drunken rowdiness, when the poor wou...

Bought by WYAP, WRGY, KSVR Studios: Skagit Valley Radio, WEZU, KHNS and more


  • Added: Dec 23, 2014
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 6